Just a note that I have listed a big lot of 444 of my favorite Czech glass (with some Japanese glass) beads on eBay. (I love these beads, but I’m at a point where they need to find a new home).

Many of these were pretty pricey; I’m guessing I paid at least $80 for them all together. I’m starting bids at just $9.95 (shipping just $2.99), with a buyout price of $45.95.

If you’re looking for some groovy, quality glass beads, please check them out.

I’m also in the process of listing lots of other overstock-madness this week, which you can keep an eye on in my eBay store, if you feel like browsing.

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I just published a new article on BellaOnline.com outlining how I use my Lortone model 3A rotary rock tumbler to polish sterling jewelry, pieces, and parts.

I’ll follow it up next week with some precautions and tips for tumbler maintenance.

If you’re looking for a good deal on a similar machine, you may want to check the current eBay listings.

plastic knitting needlesI’m a little late getting to this one, but I wanted to point out a cool, yet simple, project posted last week in Ric-Rac. Jodie carefully melts old, plastic knitting needles into round bangles. This got me thinking about plastic-melting in jewelry making, generally.

Jodie melts her needles in boiling water, which seems like a pretty good way to do it. It reduces the chance of scorching (or fires), and it allows the process to happen slowly and deliberately.

Of course, I’m always concerned about potentially toxic fumes from melting plastic. (I especially cringe when I see tutorials online for melting things like foam plastic food trays in your oven. It may sound like a good way to re-use these items, but consider the fumes!) But, it seems like the boiling-water method would be safer and less likely to emit fumes, perhaps. I’m sure it also depends on the type of plastic you’re melting – some, no doubt, are more toxic than others.

I do believe that you can greatly reduce all potential jewelry-making hazards by strictly following some important safety rules. On that topic, here’s an article I wrote a while back about polymer clay safety for BellaOnline.com.

Child Artwork Jewelry

July 22, 2007

 

What are Child Artwork Pins?

Silversmith Lee Skalkos has established a truly original, creative business: She fabricates custom pins based on children’s artwork.

Customers can email, FAX, or snail mail their kids’ masterpieces to Skalkos’ studio, where she transforms them permanently into high-quality jewelry.

These unique keepsakes are guaranteed to hold special sentimental value for families. They’re an example of the “meaningfulness” that jewelry can have beyond fashion.

By embracing that meaningfulness, and making it the focus of her business, I think Skalkos has hit on something important (in addition to just plain fun). Kudos!

You can visit her website here.

Figural wire bending

July 21, 2007

The August 2007 issue of Bead & Button has a great article on creating shaped-wire dancing figures that attach to focal beads to make pendants.

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Designer Karen Rokoski explains how to bend 24-gauge wire into these little figures using round nose pliers for the round bends and chain nose pliers for the more angular ones.

I’ve seen a similar technique used before in elaborate wire artwork (which can be very cool). What’s neat about Rokoski’s method is how she attaches the figures to one another (like at the hands and feet for these dancers), and how she fastens the entire design to a focal bead using the drill-hole and a connection at the back.

The instructions in the tutorial are nicely done, with helpful close-up photos and an (essential) graphical chart.

This is a pretty cool book sale by Interweave Press, the publishers of Beadwork, Jewelry Artist, and a slew of other crafting magazines and books.  Limited quantities of various titles are being offered for 50% to 80% off retail price. 

What is a “hurt book” (besides sounding kind of sad)? According to the publisher:

Hurt books are still in good condition but imperfect in quality and have minor dings such as a scratch on the cover or a bent page.

Sounds like a pretty good deal to me, considering that most of the books I buy from B&N and Amazon fall under that same description . . . .

Click here to see what’s still available.

I just published the third article in my series on pearl on BellaOnline. For this one, I focused on the most common terminology used for pearl beads, including pearl grading and popular bead shapes. If you can think of anything to add, or if you have comments or questions, please post ’em!

For next week, I’m planning to publish a new free project involving crochet of jeweler’s hemp. I’ve gotten back into crochet lately after a long hiatus, and I’m really liking the zen-like activity of weaving away with a crochet hook, watching TV or listening to music, or listening to nothing at all. I find it much more relaxing than most of my wire-jewelry making activities, so I think I’m going to find more ways to incorporate crochet into my designs.

The book I’m using for basic crochet instructions is an earlier book in the series that my upcoming book belongs to (Teach Yourself Visually Crocheting). The simple organization and color photographs have been a big help. I’ve also found the Crochet Me Magazine site (founded by one of the book’s authors) to be a big help.

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